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Career skills, training and transitions

Now Available on Amazon Kindle!

Posted by jamesseetoo on March 27, 2012

It’s been a busy time around here and it’s taken a bit longer than I’d like to get the book out but I’ve just delivered it to Amazon and it should be out really soon. Here’s a bit about The 5 Keys To Hypnotic Selling:

Almost every human interaction is characterized by having a sales element to a greater or lesser degree. If you’re selling an idea or a product, interviewing for a job or even asking someone out on a date,the sooner you accept the fact that you’re selling, the better.

The 5 Keys To Hypnotic Selling is designed to easily, quickly and naturally give you an edge in everything you do. Get the person of your dreams, the job you want, or the promotion you’ve always craved.

The 5 Keys are things you do naturally but not consistently. So sometimes we really “hit it off” with someone and it’s like speaking to an old friend and other times we just don’t know why we’re not connecting. Using the 5 Keys takes the randomness out of this process and when used properly, will give you an edge over the competition.

About the author: James Seetoo is a Certified Hypnotist, a Licensed NLP Practitioner and a long-time student of Influence and Persuasion technologies. He has been an Executive Recruiter in both Fortune 500 companies and retained search firms and is also a martial arts instructor. He also periodically holds live trainings on Hypnotic Selling.

Here’s a link to the page:



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It’s All About Attitude – The 5 Keys To Hypnotic Selling Part 1

Posted by jamesseetoo on November 9, 2011

Attitude is a state of mind and it’s contagious. After all, we’ve all experienced someone who was able to brighten our day just by being around and conversely we’ve all known someone who is a wet blanket able to turn winning the lottery into a burden. I’ve had people in an interview put across the idea that he/she is too good for the job not by anything said but just by what they give out.

Read more here:

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New Home For the Recruitment Underground

Posted by jamesseetoo on October 17, 2011

Hi Everyone,

The Recruitment Underground has a new home at – A lot of new content and trainings to come – check it out!

Remember, your skills are your job security.


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Will The Last One Out Please Turn Off The Lights?

Posted by jamesseetoo on February 28, 2011

While attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona I had the chance to observe an amazing amount of things that reinforce the idea that this is truly a global economy. We generally concentrate on local and national news because this has usually has the most personal impact on us but it’s amazing how global workplace decisions can have wide reaching effects on people not only in one locale or one country but across the globe.

Not to single any two companies out, but there was a major announcement by one of the world’s leading technology companies (they don’t make iPhones) about an alliance with one of the world’s leading mobile telephone makers (not BlackBerry).

At their keynote addresses, the CEO of one of the involved companies gave an impassioned if flawed sales pitch and the other CEO came out and touted the benefits to both companies. Okay, I get it – one company gets an outlet for its operating system and some distribution and the other company gets – well I guess – hmm, that’s a good question. Well, I guess it gets a lot of money to ditch its proprietary operating system. All good right?

Could be, but what about those people who were developing that operating system and other people in that organization who might be, in HR-speak, “affected”?

Now this is sadly not the only two companies making this decision or this type of decision. So what should you do even if you don’t know if you’re “affected”? Guess what, no matter what happens, you will be affected. Even if you still have a job your responsibilities will change and inevitably the company culture will change.

Do you run screaming out the door, get your resume on the job boards or hunker down and hope for the best?

Probably not. But you should start taking care of yourself and taking your career into your own hands. You should definitely be open to exploring new opportunities and be open to companies and locations you may not have previously considered. If the axe falls, believe me – you don’t want to be the one turning out the lights.

On the other hand, you should still make moves for the right reasons but really begin to examine the things that might have kept you in your company before it decided to change your world. A big obstacle has traditionally been location but having maximum flexibility will give you the best chance of not only surviving but thriving in troubled times.

Company loyalty? Hey, I’m loyal to my company, it’s a great company with great people and I’m sure yours might be too. But if you’re not going to be with that company – well in my mind loyalty is a two way street.

So no, you don’t have to be the first one out, but you should be prepared to explore all opportunities and have your CV/resume and LinkedIn Profile up to date. You might want to clean up your Facebook page – make sure nothing embarrassing shows up. Careful on those Tweets too! Yes, we recruiters do check sometimes.

And if you stay a bit longer, you might get a better severance package and that’s a big help but no substitute for being able to continue your career and support your family. What you don’t ever want is to be the last one out the door because the package is usually meager and all the good jobs were probably taken by your less qualified colleagues who were willing to make a move.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

PS – Okay, so now you’re networking and keeping your options open, great. The next step is to make sure that you get the offer and you’re the one who gets to say “no”.

If you’ve been reading my blog, I’ve given some hints on how to use these skills.  I’ve spent thousands of dollars and hours to learn these techniques and this is a primer on how to quickly, easily and naturally begin to use the kinds of tools and techniques I use on a daily basis to stand out in the crowd.

Just look up – I don’t make any money off this and offer it as a resource.

Now I’m sure there are times when you’ve just “clicked” with someone, maybe an interviewer and there were times that you just didn’t. Take the randomness out of your communications. After all, there are a lot of people with job skills but those who communicate with power will be those who get an offer.

This is the first product I’ve actively endorsed and it’s only for you if you’re ready to make the commitment to yourself to take control of your life and your career.  I’ll have more of a review of this new product by my friend and mentor, David Van Arrick next time but you can check it out in advance by looking up Stealth-hypnosis.

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All You Need Is A Little Confidence

Posted by jamesseetoo on May 27, 2010

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who you just knew wasn’t confident in what he was talking about? I have and my natural reaction fluctuates between simple disbelief in what the person was saying to this person is a BS Artist. Now, that doesn’t mean that the person actually didn’t know what he was talking about but in the absence of any other information my snap judgment is negative. And it takes a lot to change that impression.

At the same time, have you ever gotten information that you were pretty sure was wrong but because the other person was absolutely confident in it you went along with it? I have, and I’ll even admit to having given directions that I was totally sure of when I was giving them and then thought about it and was completely wrong. But when you are confident and congruent people go along with you.

Now, wouldn’t that be a good characteristic to have when you’re interviewing for a job? And also, when you’re recruiting – I would have to say if you’re not confident in what you’re talking about all you’re going to get are the desperate and unqualified.

So what is confidence and how do you get it? Well, you could say it’s an attitude, or a way of conveying that you’ve been there and done that. But it would be more useful to think of confidence as a function of the mind being able to handle the unexpected. Yes, experience gives you that kind of mental frame where you can handle something similar to what you’ve handled before. But there are people who’ve been through situations many times and still come across as not confident.

So what is going on in your mind when this happens? I would suggest that rather than relating the unexpected to an experience where you’ve been successful, you’re relating it to when you’ve been unhappily surprised. Your mind is trying to prepare you for the unexpected and you end up getting canned responses that don’t work for you or your mind creates an incredible amount of scenarios that end up paralyzing you with too many choices.

Well, here’s a little mental trick that you can try. Obviously if you’re reading this you’ve had some success in your life. Think about that time when you actually planned what you were going to do and succeeded at it – not when you were surprised you were successful but when you executed according to plan. See what you saw, feel what you feel, hear what you heard and picture that time. Okay, got it?

Now, picture what you want to happen and see it in the exact same terms that you had when you were picturing when you were successful. Notice that it’s the same brightness, that you’re seeing it from the same angle, that you hearing the same kind of sounds around you, feel how warm or cold it was and use that same frame for what you want.

Once you’ve got that, step into it and notice the world around you and try to feel unconfident. Notice the absence of that feeling. Pretty cool huh? Do this before going into an interview or when you’re cold calling someone and enjoy the difference a little confidence makes.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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Reading the Interviewer’s Mind – Part 3

Posted by jamesseetoo on April 27, 2010

Okay, so we’ve covered how to talk to the Tester.  Remember, the Tester is someone who always thinks there’s someone better out there and a lot of times will need to see upwards of ten candidates before making a decision.  So it’s really important to take control of the conversation and ask the Tester where other candidates didn’t meet expectations.

Now to the Investor.  Have you ever had a situation where you just clicked with someone?  I’m pretty sure if you haven’t grown up under a totalitarian government where every person you meant could possibly be a secret police agent waiting to through you in a gulag it’s pretty reasonable to assume that you have.  The Investor is looking for that connection.  She’s trying to find someone she not only can work with but wants to work with and it’s not always a rational decision.

I had a hiring manager just click with a candidate at an interview once.  When all the feedback, including my own and he was my candidate, was that after meeting the candidate in person, he wasn’t a fit for the role.  And I mean all the feedback from five different interviewers.  But the hiring manager just kept saying, “I really like the spring in his step.”  Investors will talk about liking a person’s energy, or just say “there’s something about him”.  In an interview, you’ll know you have an Investor when she begins projecting future responsibilities and career path and begins to speculate about where you might fit in down the line.

The Investor wants someone to mentor, someone whose career she can help grow.  Now, it’s very important to remember that a Tester will often become an Investor after getting to know you.  And the Investor will sometimes be forced to be a Tester if there is institutional pressure withing the company to find someone fast. Just remember it’s part of their interview strategy and something that you as a candidate can use to your advantage.

So just like knowing the Tester will want to make sure the boxes are checked – and what do we do about that?  That’s right, ask what those boxes are so you know you’re covering them.  When the Investor talks about synergy, teamwork and career path, go along with her and talk about those things.

Essentially, they’re covering the same points but in different contexts but like yelling fire in a crowded theater it’s all about context.  It’s okay to yell fire when the theater really is on fire isn’t it?

Make sure you prepare for your interview by having measurable achievements ready to discuss but be flexible in your delivery.  The Tester will want to check off the boxes before going into detail.  The Investor will want a narrative that will show how you “fit” into the environment and the team.

Like the recent NFL draft, you can draft for need or for best player available.  Testers will try to fill needs, Investors will want talent on their side.

Remember, your skills are your job security.


James Seetoo

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Reading the Interviewer’s Mind – Part 2

Posted by jamesseetoo on April 16, 2010

So, you’ve come face to face with the interviewer.  How do you know if he’s a Tester or an Investor?  Well, it’s pretty easy.  All you have to do is ask.  This, by the way is one of the big red flags that pop up with candidates.  They don’t ask questions.  Remember, an interview is a conversation, a dialogue.  That means there’s a give and take.  It’s not a or at least should not be an interrogation and if the interviewer doesn’t let you ask questions right back that should be a red flag for you not to join this company no matter what they offer you.  Okay, a million dollars might change my mind or any number above that but we have to have some boundaries here.

But back to the matter at hand.  It’s absolutely appropriate to ask how many people they’ve interviewed for the job.  That’s all.  Just ask how many people they’re interviewing.  Most likely they’ll both have interviewed several people but it’s the follow-up question that will give you the key to understanding if she’s a Tester or an Investor.

That question is: “Where were the other candidates lacking?”

The Tester will generally have a list of things he’s looking for wand will give a pretty detailed answer of what he’s not getting.  The Investor will talk about “not the right fit” or something to that effect.

Now again, the important thing to know about Testers and Investors is that this is just a strategy that the interviewer is following.  So when you catch on to their strategy you’ll be on the same page as they are and that gives you an immediate leg up in the interview.

How to talk to the Tester

The Tester will have a list of things that she wants in a candidate and they’ll be pretty specific. The interview will probably go along a pretty well choreographed pattern as the Tester checks off the boxes on her list.  So you’ve got to take the initiative and ask: “What’s important for you in the person you want in this job?”  Take control of the situation.  Too many people are afraid to ask and hope that the interviewer will let something slip.  The fact is, you’re both there for a reason.  The interviewer wants to check off his boxes and either you’ve got what he wants or you don’t.  But he’ll assume you don’t if you don’t cover those things and let’s face it, most interviews have a pretty finite time limit.  That is, unless you’re really hitting those things, let’s call them criteria, that the Tester is looking for and then you’ll be surprised at how much extra time you get to make your case.

Next – How to talk to the Investor

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Reading The Interviewer’s Mind – Part 1

Posted by jamesseetoo on March 25, 2010

Well, I’ll just take it for granted that you’ve been following this blog and might have noticed that I haven’t posted in a few weeks. I’ve been researching a new approach to interviewing and there will be some new perspectives presented in the next few episodes aimed expressly at building your interview strategy by being able to read the interviewer’s mind. Now, this is specifically aimed at giving you the keys to an incredibly powerful interview, not trying to figure out what the interviewer is thinking about the cute server at the local Starbucks. Full details of this system will be introduced in an upcoming ebook (shameless plug).

But getting back to the matter at hand. When you go into an interview, wouldn’t it be valuable to be able to profile the interviewer quickly, to get past the canned questions and answers? I mean, how often have we interviewed with someone who is just reading questions off a list and not really listening to our answers? I know, it’s happened a lot with recruiters on phone interviews but I can guarantee it doesn’t happen with the me so I’ll leave myself out of that category.

Hiring managers and interviewers as a best practice go into an interview with a firm idea of what he/she wants or in other words, a profile.  But as a candidate, you should also be ready to read the interviewer in order to pick the best strategy to communicate with that person.  Now, it’s important to note that one type or profile is not better than another but it’s a way of enhancing the way you communicate with that interviewer.  So here are the first two profiles the Tester and the Investor.

So the first thing we’ll want to do when we meet for an interview is to find out the interviewer’s timeline and that’s where the Tester/Investor profile fits in.

Have you ever had the interview process drag out for weeks or even months? As a recruiter, we find this happens all the time – the Hiring Manager who always believes that there is a better candidate out there and will take forever to make a decision even if he likes all the candidates. The Tester’s not interested in lost opportunity costs even if he has to hold down extra work that should be handled by his team. He’s looking for the perfect candidate, even if he hasn’t nailed down exactly what “perfect” is in his own mind.

On the opposite end, there are some people who will make a quick decision based on not just your skill set but also on your potential for growth. This interviewer is an Investor. The Investor “falls in love” with a candidate and believes that this person will be an invaluable asset regardless of skill set. Now I’m not saying she will view every candidate this way but when the “halo effect” hits, it’s very hard to make her move off her opinion. Usually it’s her boss that will overrule her in that situation making it hard for anyone to get the job.

Now, both the Tester and Investor have good points too. The Tester will become an Investor once you’ve proven that you are the person for the job and the Investor will absolutely offer you opportunities to shine. But there are strategies for communicating with each of these Hiring Managers and we’ll go into these in more detail in the next blog so stay tuned.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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Judging A Book By Its Cover

Posted by jamesseetoo on February 22, 2010

The old cliché says you can’t judge a book by its cover and like every cliché, it has more than a kernel of truth to it. And just like every cliché, we do it anyway. We judge people by their looks, resumes by their format or lack thereof and I’m told, women even judge men by their shoes although since I’m in Southern California it’s hard to tell since a lot of people don’t really wear shoes.

So it’s enough to say that we shouldn’t judge by appearance alone. Okay, that’s enough then. But while we acknowledge that, shouldn’t we as recruiters and/or candidates pay close attention to our packaging? I mean, after all when you look at Tiger Woods, who thinks male slut – okay now, but what about a year ago?

So since it’s still early in the year and hopefully everyone is still on their resolutions, I would propose we not only look at making over our resumes but also ourselves. I know that most of the recruitment process happens over the phone but at some point we will have to meet people face to face either as candidates or recruitment consultants. And we shouldn’t forget that candidates are also, or should be interviewing our companies and clients. So all around, I would suggest we take a good look at ourselves. Should we be hitting the gym? Eating a salad instead of a burger? Changing out those shirts from the 90’s?

Personally, I’m in a bit better shape than I was a year ago but then again, I’ve been hitting the gym regularly and have tweaked my diet. I’m not saying it’s a make or break situation but if you go back to an earlier blog (shameless plug here) it really is all about sales and you have to put your best foot forward.

And if there ever was a time to brush up your skill set it’s now. If you don’t want to spend money, perhaps there’s a local interest group you can join, seems to be pretty good and a lot of them are free. Or maybe you should start your own group – it never hurts to expand your network.

I think the economy is forcing us all to become leaner if hopefully not too mean. So polish up your resume by all means but remember, a good book cover only goes so far.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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Is Talent Overrated?

Posted by jamesseetoo on February 5, 2010

It’s a fact of life that when you live in Southern California there’s less opportunity to read than there is when you live in New York City or any other place where you have to rely on mass transportation. After all, when you’re crammed into a sardine can with your fellow human beings pressed all around you a good book or a cheap newspaper can be the life-preserver that saves you from drowning in too much contact with your fellow human being.

Granted, there’s always the sport of people watching which is pretty interesting, especially when you’re there’s a myriad of people from all over the world sitting on top of you but all in all, you end up getting a lot of reading in.

So I’ve turned to audio books. Yes, I know it’s a geek thing but at least I have them on my iPod, well maybe it’s not so cool since it’s a Classic and not a Touch, but hey, books take up a lot of space and 64GB just doesn’t cut it. I listen while I’m sitting in my car and while it’s not the same, at least I’m listening to someone reading.

And one of those books is: “Talent is Overrated” by Geoffry Colvin. Colvin’s book sets out to dispel the idea that people are born athletes, musicians, writers – well you get the idea. Basically he says it’s hard work that wins the day. Hurray for the tortoises of the world! He makes a pretty good case that someone like Mozart became a genius by working really hard from a very young age with a father who was not a musical but a pedagogical genius. That’s pretty compelling.

So, as a recruiter, if I’m looking for “talent” am I looking for the wrong thing?

Well, yes and no. I think of talent as a raw material or if you’re more technologically savvy you can think of it as bandwidth. The real question is, is that bandwidth being used properly? Like empty bandwidth or a raw material like crude oil there’s potential in talent. But is that potential being realized? And it goes beyond schooling or starting out with a great company. Those things are great for a resume but the real question is, what has the candidate accomplished?

Colvin uses Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE and Steve Balmer. CEO of Microsoft as examples of talent that was refined from the beginning. They started together at P&G and he uses them as examples of people who have distinguished themselves from all the others who started out at P&G at the same time. Now, I would say that yes, they’ve both distinguished themselves but in my mind, they haven’t really achieved anything good for their companies, but that’s another discussion.

It’s enough to say that regardless of pedigree, and yes, there are some companies that love pedigree (Ivy League, Harvard Business School etc.) these are not necessarily indicators of achievement. It’s what you do with the talent you have that counts.

So if you’re putting together your resumé or interviewing, make sure you speak to achievement. Here’s a tip, try framing your achievements in terms of SMART: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound. In other words, what did you do, how did you do it, what was the result compared to the goal, did you make your goal on time?

People have said to me, “you’re a talented recruiter,” and I always say, it’s not talent, it’s skill.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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